General Practitioners Committee Northern Ireland

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General practice undated resignations

Following a prolonged period of uncertainty and an increasing crisis for general practice NIGPC has taken the difficult decision to ask GPs to submit undated resignations.

We believe this is the only way to ensure a primary care service that effectively meets the needs of patients in Northern Ireland.


How we got here

Over the past few months we have been working with the Department of Health to try and agree a package of measures to address the problems in general practice.

These measures included:

  • increased training places
  • a minimum of 10% of the health budget going to general practice
  • a stabilisation fund
  • measures to increase the workforce
  • reduce the workload

Read more about what we asked for (PDF)


How we gathered support

We organised a very successful public lobbying campaign, with eventually over 40,000 patients signing petitions supporting increased funding for general practice.

At the end of last year NIGPC in conjunction with the LMCs, held a series of roadshows across Northern Ireland to ask members what action they felt we needed to talk. Overwhelmingly members supported the proposal to move towards gathering undated resignations.

Late last year health minister Michelle O'Neill accepted the recommendations of the GP-led Care Working Group, saying "we need to take action now to address the challenges facing the service and I am pleased to accept its recommendations as signalling the direction of travel needed to ensure that everyone here continues to have access to high quality, sustainable GP-led services."

Read the full statement

Read the working group report


What are undated resignations?

Undated resignations are a co-ordinated action where GPs submit letters of resignation from their practice contract to the BMA.

Read more about undated resignations


What happens then?

We have a dedicated group working on an alternative contract model to our NHS contract, the so-called ‘Plan B’. One alternative is a private service similar top that offered to patients in the Republic of Ireland. We are still many months away from this stage and we will update members on this project as it develops.

For more information on this please contact your LMC representative


Media coverage

This issue has gained extensive coverage in the media, both local print and broadcast as well as the trade press. Some of the coverage can be viewed on the following links.

The Irish News

Fewer GPs in Northern Ireland now than in 1950s says BMA

Two thirds of Fermanagh GP surgeries to close in 18 months

GPs threaten walkout in wake of election call


Belfast Telegraph

20 GP surgeries face closure in Northern Ireland affecting 120,000 patients, warns top doctor

Bannview Medical Practice: Health minister says Southern Trust could step in to take on contract

Executive "sleep-walking" towards primary care crisis

More patients and poor funding have GPs in crisis


Pulse Today

Whole-town GP collapse fears worsen as contractor pulls out

Political turmoil nudges Northern Irish GPs closer to the exit door

We need urgent action for general practice in Northern Ireland



NI GPs resignation from NHS 'inevitable'

Hundreds of GPs threaten to quit NHS

GPs 'willing to sign up to leaving letters' amid fears of service collapse


News Letter

Executive sleep-walking towards primary care crisis, say doctors

BMA tells Stormont: NI has fewer GPs than in 1950s

Majority of GPs give backing to plan to break free from NHS


GP Online

Mass GP resignation in Northern Ireland looms as government nears collapse

Exclusive: Only way to save general practice is to quit the NHS, warns GP leader

New practice crisis as Northern Ireland GPs say mass resignation 'inevitable'

GPC Northern Ireland launches public petition to tackle GP crisis